Headaches, Shoulder and Neck Pain
Since many of us spend so much more time hunched over our laptops, Ipads and cell phones, it’s easy to understand why so many people experience headaches, neck and shoulder pain. We even see many younger adults and kids depicting the typical hunch back, kyphotic posture that you normally wouldn’t get until you are in your 80s or 90s.
Bad posture places excessive stress on your muscles and joints which can result in a tight, sore and stressed body. This can lead to neck pain, shoulder issues, back pain, headaches and other health issues and/or injuries.
We spend so much of our day in a forward rounded position, over stretching the muscles in the upper back. To counter act the effects of forward flexion, it is important to strengthen those overstretched muscles and stretch the shortened, tight muscles. Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to do some corrective exercises and stretches that will make a world of difference in how you look and feel!
To perform a floor press, lie on your back. Extend your arms to the side with your palms facing up, keeping your shoulder joint in neutral position. Contract your abdominal muscles. Press the back of your arm/hand into the floor, squeezing your shoulder blades together slightly and hold for 2 seconds. Relax. Raise your arms about 4 inches and repeat. Continue raising your arms to various positions, pressing into the floor. Perform this exercise approx. 10-15x total at various angles. You can also perform this exercise standing with your arms against a wall.
Prone Retraction and Arm Lifts
Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms straight out to the side. Turn your thumbs up to the ceiling and then slowly lift your arms upwards. Concentrate on pulling your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling/sky. Do 15-20 reps.
Wrap a tube around a pole and hold the handle in each hand. Start with your arms outstretched in front of your body with your palms down. Then slowly lift your arms backwards until they finish in the “Hands up!” position. Do 15-20 reps.
This is one of my most favorite passive stretches to help someone improve common postural deviations. Start by laying a few pillows on the floor or your bed. Lay over the pillows on your back so that the pillows are at the level of your shoulder blades and your head is resting. Allow your upper body to round over the pillows with your arms at your side. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders, chest and upper back. Hold for 30 seconds or more. Then extend your hands over your head and hold this position. Your head should be supported on the pillows throughout the entire stretching sequence. I like to hold this stretch for a long time – especially after a long day over the computer.
Last, it goes without saying that one of the best ways to improve your posture is to avoid sitting for extended periods of time. So set a timer on your computer and get up, walk around, stretch and move your body! That alone will dramatically improve your posture and the health of your entire body!
We are hosting a FREE Workshop with local Physical Therapist Jeni Gall to provide additional practical exercises and stretches to help prevent shoulder and neck pain on Tuesday March 26th. More Details.
Yours in health & fitness,
Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.
Join us for the COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES on March 24th, 2019 in downtown Vancouver, WA. Celebrate St. Patrick’s day with us at the 5th Annual Couve Clover Run. Wear your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.